To say it’s a departure from the rocket-launcher guitars and skittering electro frippery of their past is a bit of an understatement; then again, pretty much everything about Incubus these days — especially their upcoming If Not Now, When? album — is a departure.
An intentional one, of course. Which is part of the reason they chose “Promises” as the proper first single from When?, which is due July 12. It represents everything they hoped to achieve with the new album.
“It’s about whittling down the process to really simple forms, finding real beauty in stark simplicity, allowing for space to be as big a part of the music as the notes,” guitarist Mike Einziger told MTV News. “This album feels spacious to me, there’s a lot air in the album. In our previous albums, we’ve tried to fit as many notes as humanly possible into the music and I think the idea of writing something that can stand on its own was a core theme of the album.”
And those ideals extended to frontman Brandon Boyd’s lyrics too. In “Promises,” he tells the story of a woman who shields herself from the world through barriers, both real and imagined. In the video, they’re represented in the form of projections that envelop the band — but in the song itself, well, they’re mostly alluded to. Which was Boyd’s goal all along.
“I realized that the greatest challenge was in saying more in less space, with less notes, less lyrics. Can you create a thought that can shatter something, or shake somebody up, without having to spell the whole thing out for them?” he said. “You introduce these ideas and then create gaps, so there’s a lot of space on this record. And, this is just my humble opinion, but I think there is a grace to this album, that we’ve never really stumbled onto before, and I think I’m the most excited because of that.”
What do you think of the “Promises, Promises” video? Share your reviews in the comments!